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Alex Benay

Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada & Digital Change Enthusiast

Alex Benay is the Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada, and a strong advocate for culture change that facilitates a more digital, agile and open government. A dynamic executive with public, crown and private sector experience, he is tasked with guiding Canada’s largest technological operation in the country for the digital future. Alex’s book Canadian Failures brings together successful Canadians such as astronauts and gold medal athletes to discuss how failure got them to where they are today in an effort to remove the national stigma surrounding the term ‘to fail’.

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Canada’s Digital Future
Alex Benay is bringing a different lens to the technology landscape of government-his goal is to create a government that is more exponential, rather than linear, in order to meet Canadians’ needs for digital services. Alex’s keynote address will discuss the ways in which the public sector must strive to engage with citizens in a way that is open and digital by default first. Alex will also touch on how the Government of Canada, among others, must embrace the technologies needed to operate in a digital world and promote innovation in the public sector – in order to bring government services into the information age.

Learning from Failure
Humans are a dominant species that has thrived on a history of striving for success. And yet, an individual, organization or nation that prides itself only on its success is not prepared to face the challenges of the future. A nation should face its failures, accept them, and in certain cases even celebrate them, in an effort to become greater than it is. In a world that is often described as entering a new “disruptive” phase of existence, complete with disruptive technologies, disruptive economies, and so forth, and at a time when the innovation economies of the world are seen as a critical next step in our human evolution, not failing often and fast seems counter-intuitive to any innovation agenda. Failures define us as much as successes; they shape our national DNA, our culture, and our creative spirit.   Benay explores the stories of individuals who have both failed and succeeded, and how, through time, failures have helped to shape our national identity.

Social Leadership & Intrapreneurship
In this presentation, Alex looks at the organizational and human dimensions of leadership. He will deliver experience-based, practical ideas and approaches that audiences can implement for themselves, in their own organizations, and specifically within the public sector.

Platform Plus

Panelist/In Conversation

From AI to the IoE, from open government to building innovation, Alex brings fascinating insights to a wide range of discussion topics.


Ottawa Business Journal | Top 40 Under 40

  • Alex is dedicated outspoken professional who exudes confidence and delivers results. Alex really knows how to mobilize people from vision to action, using his passion and skills to motivate productive results. - Dan Larocque
  • Alex is a sensational collaborator and catalyst to make things happen. On behalf of the entire G20YEA, we are very grateful for all his time, work and commitment in sharing our vision of a more entrepreneurial world. - G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance
  • Alex brought a high level of energy and innovation to make information management relevant to achieve business objectives. - Pierre Lafond

Summary Profile

As Canada’s CIO, Benay is responsible for a broad portfolio with a budget of $6 billion, 17 thousand employees and countless vendors. With technology and change as constants, Benay must juggle the needs of government information systems with the demands of an increasingly dynamic, digitally-savvy and on-demand population. With a rapidly evolving tech landscape ahead of the nation, and public sector IT verging on archaic, Benay has a big to-do list.

Benay is an avid user of technology and he often voices the importance of taking risks, failing fast and challenging the status quo when it comes to technological innovation, especially in the government. Benay believes in the strength of social media channels to communicate to Canadians and engage them on shaping the way forward. He also uses social media as an outlet to offer a running commentary on Government of Canada initiatives and projects. Benay is not your typical CIO!

His previous roles have included that of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, and Vice-President, Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText, Canada’s largest software company.

Benay’s 2017 book is titled “Canadian Failures: Stories of Building toward Success”. He brings together successful Canadians such as astronauts and gold medal athletes to explore how failure got them to where they are today, in an effort to remove the national stigma surrounding the term ‘to fail’. He will be releasing another book in fall 2018 titled “Government Digital: The Quest to Regain Public Trust” that will lay down a blueprint for digital change for other governments and organizations.

RT @fwd50conf: Prenez 10 minutes pour partager vos opinions sur le gouvernement numérique: https://t.co/5HmxqQub8q Chaque année, nous sondo… (2019-05-17 07:48:43)
RT @NewsroomGC: Don’t miss our information session on the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2019 next Wednesday https://t.co/t2Ttb5… (2019-05-17 07:33:10)
RT @ThatRobDavidson: @AlexBenay NuEnergy and a number of other emerging Canadian tech companies will be showcasing their solutions at the @… (2019-05-17 07:03:53)